2015 Transgender Day of Remembrance in Fallon, NV

Starting today, I am hosting a transgender day of remembrance event, in Fallon, NV. I’m making my office location available to the public for that event.

The planned format of the event will be appropriate to the culture of the event, of the local culture, and of the transgender individuals who are expected to be in attendance.

2015-11-20 20.29.49In addition to the candle, the event decor features two artifacts:

  • a Barbie doll that a Fallon t-girl bought herself after she came out. She’d always wanted one, and it didn’t fit the paradigm of how she was told to live. And finally, it does and it’s fine for her to own one.
  • a formally prescribed, legal prescription bottle of estrogen as is being taken daily by a Fallon t-girl in the context of responsible medical supervision including formal lab blood tests that monitor her kidneys, liver and blood cholesterol.

The event is planned for 7 p.m. at the offices of Precision Quality Software, Inc. at 131 Industrial Way, Fallon, NV 89406. Anyone who is transgender or supportive is welcome, but space is limited for this year’s event so anyone expected to attend should contact me ahead of time, and advise how many people would like to attend — so that I can continue to revise my plans as to space and refreshments. Contact me via the comments for next year’s event.

Being visibly out and proud is part of the culture-change process in favor of public awareness and acceptance of transgender people, but tonight’s event isn’t intended mainly for that. With that in mind, the recommended dress code for tonight’s event should be somber such as befits the solemnity of the occasion.

Consistent with the Fallon culture of live-and-let-live: as to any adult choosing to smoke, it’s your personal decision and you are welcome to do so. For attending this year’s event, please limit yourself to substances that won’t result in a police raid for narcotics. Ten years from now it might well be the other way around but in 2015 in Fallon, NV tobacco is legal and pot is not. Please plan accordingly. Due to the chilly weather the event will be held indoors in limited space, so it’s a non-smoking event. Ample space is available for smokers right by the entrance.

The life story of a transgender person typically has a central theme of conflict between the personal values of the individual and the norms imposed by others. That conflict shapes our personalities, and many transgender people end up stronger with some of us taking the battle to the castle gates of our adversaries, which is a very “Fallon, Nevada” way of dealing with adversity. However, there is often much personal, private anguish in the lives of transgender people. Often this ends with one more life ending due to the transgender person choosing to not live any more.

Some transgender people might never get beat up and yet the emotional pain due to non-violent animosity might still be such that they choose to end their own journey in life. Probably when these names are added to the list of those we’ve lost, the list is much longer, and yet quite possibly unknown to the general public or even to those who thought they knew the transgender person closely. And so for these individuals as a whole, the event will have a formal acknowledgement too.

Even so, tonight’s ceremony has the central theme of remembering individuals who, due to being transgender, experience violence resulting in death or severe injury to the transgender person. “Remembering those we’ve lost” sums it up but the emphasis is on violence.

A typical format for this event, elsewhere, has been where a name is read with the location and cause of death. Without any offense intended to those who take that approach, tonight’s event will not do so. Instead the event will involve discussing transgender victims whose stories are known to the attendees, first-hand or otherwise. That tends to make it a lot more personal.

Some of my ancestors were French Huegenots, Protestants who as a group were being targeted and killed off in droves in France, where the majority of the populace was Roman Catholic and so was the royalty. To survive, my ancestors fled to the southern tip of Africa. Certainly to have a Protestant Day of Remembrance in that time and place would be appropriate. Today in America it seems pointless.

That is my intent behind the Transgender Day of Remembrance ceremony: to have it soon fizzle out due to it being that pointless.

With that in mind, life is for the living, and the best way to experience a better future is to take charge and shape it. The events of this evening will (again consistent with the culture of Fallon, NV) end on an upbeat note with the explicit intent of enabling this year’s attendees to be there next year too, with two discussions:

  • Risk of death by one’s own hand
  • Risk of death by the hand of others.

Risk management involves reducing the likelihood of bad things happening and/or reducing the negative effects if the bad thing does happen. The discussion will follow that structure.

Refreshments will be served.
2015-11-20 20.25.02

Transgender Day of Remembrance, 2014 — Reno, NV, USA

Today, I was in Reno, NV for the Transgender Day of Remembrance, 2014. The central event is a solemn reading. Volunteers from the audience line up and when it’s his or her turn, the person at the head of the line walks to the stage, reads what’s on the teleprompter and walks off the stage.

The teleprompter shows the information for one transgender person’s killed in a hate crime … her name, her age, how she was murdered and the location. It’s grim. Some of the volunteers could barely hold back the tears for long enough to keep reading, Anti-transgender violence is typically brutal, e.g., stabbed 33 times, beaten to death with an iron bar, shot in the face, set on fire … often the assailant is furious at the t-girl. Why? Often, a common thread is: homophobia.

As general awareness spreads as to what it means to be homophobic, such crimes become more and more ludicrous.

Let’s pick on a sample homophobe, Mr. X. His macho attitude is a desperate attempt to hide his own insecurity. He hates gays and yet he is also personally a repressed gay. When he is finally confronted with the self-realization that he’s gay, he’s overwhelmed with self-loathing. Rather than doing a premise check, he lashes out at whoever inspired his realization — often, a t-girl whom he found arousing. He blames her for his condition. Sometimes, a homophobic killer is heard to say “I can’t be gay, I can’t be gay” as he bludgeons his transgender victim to death, as if erasing her will make his own mental anguish be erased. It makes no sense, but that’s how the homophobic mindset functions.

As for me, I’m spreading the word that for a homophobe to be a homophobe, he has to be gay to a significant extent — otherwise he wouldn’t psychologically collapse so dramatically when he realizes that his hatred of gays includes himself.

So, homophobic violence is an immediate self-outing announcement. Please spread the word, folks. This is how justice gets done. The most terrifying fear of the homophobe is to be outed. And if he’s initiated violence, then public humiliation, by his own demented standard, is what he so richly deserves.

Some Progress in Law Enforcement

A former romantic partner of mine is from Brazil, and her parents lived in Minas Gerais, which was mentioned a couple of times in the Transgender day of Remembrance, in Reno.  Minas Gerais means “general mining area” hence mines, mine-workers, etc.  It’s a pretty rugged area.

Recently, a 19-yo transgender girl prostitute there was about to meet a client but instead he and two other bad guys beat her up and stole $9 and a cell phone off her.  That’s bad.

Now, my attempt to focus on the more-positive part of the news:

  • It’s probably also a decent guess that this happens to non-transgender-girl prostitutes too, especially in such a rugged area.
  • She was taken to the emergency room, which is better than not.
  • She was discharged from the emergency room, which is better than needing an extended stay.
  • The cops found the bad guy and charged him, yay!
  • And, the cops are continuing to look for the other two as well, yay!

So, it’s a bad situation, but some silver lining too. It could have been a lot worse.  I especially like how the cops are taking it seriously.  Not that long ago, the mere fact that the victim is transgender might well have made the situation play out much worse.

Transgender Day of Remembrance in Reno, NV

Last night, I met with about three dozen other folks for the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, with this particular event being held in Reno, NV — a city where, to my knowledge and evidently that of everyone there, things are comparatively transgender-friendly and non-violent.

Some e-candles were lighted and a minister from a transgender-friendly church opened with a non-denominational spiritual reading.  Next, the moderator provided a stack of papers. Each paper had the name (and sometimes picture) of a transgender person who had been murdered in the past year, plus the specifics and location of the murder.

Most of the murdered people were girls.  I noticed that the country mentioned most frequently was Brazil, and the Brazilian city mentioned most was Sao Paulo.  Since a transgender friend of mine lives there, I’m now more concerned for her safety than before.  Even so, information like this has to be evaluated carefully.  For example, cities who track and report crime more precisely can on the surface look more dangerous than cities where the crimes are more of an unrecorded blur.

Taking turns, the folks present at the Reno ceremony took the microphone and read a name and information on one piece of paper, and held up the picture (if any) for the bystanders to see. It was very intense.  I felt myself becoming very angry at this injustice.

A friend of mine sang a sad Fleetwood Mac song in remembrance, and then the group adjourned to a nearby auditorium where two transgender guys, the minister and I were on-stage for a Q&A session.  The moderator asked some questions, as did some members of the audience.  This lasted for more than an hour.  The mood was generally positive and optimistic.

Some members of the audience were candid as to their experiences not being as rosy as that of some of the panelists have experienced.  I was probably the most candid panelist there.  I explained how I’d been interacting with bullies since I was very young, and had come to learn that an intended victim who fights back so effectively as to become a danger to the bullies becomes undesirable for the bullying mindset, since bullies’ comfort zone is where they are in a position of overwhelming dominance.

My sexy black Berretta in its black holster

I described the process of obtaining a Concealed Carry Permit and suggested that transgender people consider that option.

One panelist described how he is working with the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department people to assist them in planning out a set of revised guidelines for when a transgender person is arrested.  As an example, as a transgender guy, he wouldn’t want to be put in with the females, but it might also be dangerous to be in with the males.

It became even more clear to me how relatively positive an area Reno, NV is for being a transgender person.  Many transgender people who leave home head out for San Francisco on general principles, but once they arrive, they find the day-to-day economic realities to be stark even though there is general acceptance of transgender people. If someone were headed out West, my guess is that Reno seems to be a very good choice.

After the meeting adjourned, several members of the audience came up to me to say “hello” and other nice things.  It felt good.

The event was very well-organized, and the turnout was impressive, especially given how comparatively small a city Reno is.